All states and territories should follow Victoria’s lead and ‘unconvict’ people suffering the consequences of old, bad laws which are now changed, Civil Liberties Australia says.
‘Unconvict’ people whose actions are no longer crimes, CLA says
All Australians convicted of what are now non-offences should have their records cleared, Civil Liberties Australia says.
“We are calling on all states and territories to follow the lead of Victoria,” CLA’s CEO Bill Rowlings said.
Victoria will become the first state to erase the criminal records of men who were previously convicted for having gay sex.
“These men have carried a crime stigma for decades for doing what to them was natural, consensual and victimless.
“They have been forced to live as criminals, and to declare a criminal record to public authorities, when the ‘crime’ they were convicted for is not a crime now.”
Mr Rowlings said other laws which have changed should also be reviewed to ensure people did not carry unnecessary guilt when rules changes.
“The model for the Victorian legislation is presumably the UK Protection of Freedoms Act 2012. Australian states and territories should have a close look at that law, and at the proposed Victorian legislation.
“Federally, this issue should come under the review recently announced by the Attorney-General, Senator George Brandis. The Australian Law Reform Commission is analysing all Australians’ freedoms, liberties and rights in relation to current laws.
“Adding this aspect to the ALRC inquiry will provide a focus for positive change, early wins, as a result of their report.”
Sunday 12 January 2014